Corey Cunningham has been making music for quite sometime now, most notably in Magic Bullets and Terry Malts. He started Business of Dreams as a way to cope with loss and a life he had left in the past. His second album and first (as BoD) with Slumberland Records, Ripe For Anarchy, Cunningham has focused his songs on moving on and letting go. What he’s created with Ripe For Anarchy is a pure indie-pop gem. A sure fit in the Slumberland catalog. Give the incredible “My Old Town” and “Ripe For Anarchy” a spin below for a taste. I can say with certainty that this will be on my favorites of 2019 list come December. Enjoy.
It’s time for my annual blog post…
Without further ado, my favorite albums of 2018:
Khruangbin Con Todo El Mundo (Dead Oceans)
Durand Jones & the Indications self-titled (Dead Oceans)
Bodega Endless Scroll (What’s Your Rupture?)
Jean Grae & Quelle Chris Everything’s Fine (Mello Music Group)
Janelle Monae Dirty Computer (Bad Boy)
Altin Gun On (Bongo Joe)
Smokescreens Used to Yesterday (Slumberland)
Idles Joy As an Act of Resistance (Partisan)
Low Double Negative (Sub Pop)
Cut Chemist Die Cut (A Stable Sound)
I encourage you to enjoy these on vinyl (link will go here as soon as I get off my butt and update the online store).
And because 2018 offered so much more music than can fit neatly in a Top 10 list, here are my 23 favorite songs of the past year…
We are big fans of Veronica Falls and Ultimate Painting here at 3hive, so when the new Proper Ornaments (another project of James Hoare’s) landed in the inbox I was quite stoked to give it a spin and I really haven’t stopped listening to it since.
Foxhole, their latest release with Slumberland Records, has a lo-fi, groove-pop vibe reminds me a lot of Ultimate Painting – especially when the noodly Velvet Underground style guitar play is in full effect.
Give their chilled-out single “Memories” a spin (below) and head over to Slumberland Records and get your hands on a copy. Enjoy.
Proper Ornaments – Memories from Foxhole (2017)
(Sequenced for flow – not ranking – purposes.)
Tyvek “Choose Once” (In the Red)
My single of the year, from my album of the year. So raw, so good.
Mass Gothic “Every Night You’ve Got to Save Me” (Sub Pop)
Family Sing-Along Song of the Year honors go to this raucous doo-wop jam.
DIIV “Under the Sun” (Captured Tracks)
Shining down from a shimmering crack in the clouds that hung over 2016.
A Tribe Called Quest “We the People…” (Epic)
I could have chosen any of a half dozen tracks off this album but this here’s the anthem, get your damn hands up.
Francis and the Lights w/ Bon Iver “Friends” (KTTF)
Alan Parsons meets auto-tuned R&B meets, well, Bon Iver.
KAYTRANADA “LITE SPOTS” (XL)
Half this song is impossible to dance to; the other half is impossible not to dance to.
De La Soul “Royalty Capes” (AOI)
I wish this album had been more fulfilling than my anticipation of it, but there are some real gems amidst the scattershot experiments. This one’s about why a guy can’t find vintage De La on any of the streaming services.
Beach Slang “Spin the Dial” (Polyvinyl)
“I was born at the bottom
But I never belonged
I’m hardly ever right
But I’ve never been wrong”
Could’ve been ripped straight from Paul Westerberg’s notebook.
The Men “Dreamer” (We Are the Men)
What you’d imagine to be playing anytime a parent pounds on their teen’s bedroom door and yells, “Turn it down!”
The Radio Dept. “Committed to the Cause” (Labrador)
A slinky statement of a song with hints of Prefab Sprout and St. Etienne.
Parquet Courts “Steady on My Mind” (Rough Trade)
Grandaddy “A Lost Machine” (Sony)
Man, this album can’t come soon enough…
James Blake “Love Me in Whatever Way” (Polydor)
That laugh track makes this even more heartbreaking than your average James Blake song.
ot to, not to w/ Noah Smith “Regretta I” (Other People)
Listen very closely.
The xx “On Hold” (Young Turks)
I know their 15 minutes of fame should be long gone, but that Hall & Oates sample…
Sonny & the Sunsets “Needs” (Polyvinyl)
The album where Sonny fell in love with a drum machine and made some goofy babies like this one.
Sunflower Bean “I Was Home” (Fat Possum)
Critics fawned over their debut but I found most of the album kinda boring. That said, this single is some transcendent psych rock amazingness.
Terry Malts “Used to Be” (Slumberland)
Terry Malts has been to me in the early 20-teens what The Wedding Present was to me in the early 1990s – completely durable and indispensible.
The Intended “Don’t Wait Too Long” (In the Red)
Rollicking goodness from Detroit’s garage (or basement, as the case may be) scene.
Leonard Cohen “It Seemed the Better Way” (Sony)
I’m a man of faith but after a year like this one, I get it. I really do.
David Bowie “Lazarus” (ISO/Columbia)
As my grandmother was bedridden and dying of cancer she’d ask my mom to open the curtains so she could watch the birds in the tree outside her window. When I first heard the bluebird line, I crumbled into a sobbing mess. Bowie gave until the very end…ain’t that just like him?
Inspired by Todd and a really great year for music, I’m coming out of hibernation with my tops of 2015…
Jamie xx In Colour (Young Turks)
I figured this collection of dancefloor etudes wouldn’t hold up to repeat listens but here I am, on the last day of the year, still unable to shake the hooks from my head.
Donnie Trumpet & the Social Experiment Surf (self-released)
A remarkably eclectic and powerful album. The fact you don’t see any of the guest stars credited in song titles tells you everything you need to know about how this “experiment” fared.
Protomartyr The Agent Intellect (Hardly Art)
Riveting post-punk from Detroit; kinda like Interpol without the pretense.
Young Guv Ripe 4 Luv (Slumberland)
Ben Cook set out to satirize bands like Cheap Trick, Big Star, Marshall Crenshaw, etc. only to end up creating a completely epic power pop album of his own.
Jose Gonzalez Vestiges and Claws (Mute)
I respect Jose’s absolute commitment to the whispery folk formula that made him famous, especially when it produces a gorgeous album like this one.
Sufjan Stevens Carrie & Lowell (Asthmatic Kitty)
Like Jose, Sufjan keeps doing his thing and it keeps getting better.
Thundercat The Beyond/Where the Giants Roam (Brainfeeder)
Yearning, confident, proggy, funky – like nothing else out there.
Colleen Captain of None (Thrill Jockey)
An art album that plays like a pop record.
Kamasi Washington The Epic (Brainfeeder)
I may be the only so-called music snob who thought Kendrick Lamar’s To Pimp a Butterfly was just okay (or is that just me being extra snobby?) – but if the Kendrick Lamar phenomenon means former studio musicians like Kamasi see more sunshine, I’m all about it.
Beirut No No No (4AD)
Even a B+ record from Beirut will make my top 10.
Young Fathers “Shame” (Big Dada)
Nosaj Thing feat Chance the Rapper “Cold Stares” (Innovative Leisure/Timetable)
Baio “Sister of Pearl” (Glassnote)
The Arcs “Stay In My Corner” (Nonesuch)
Unknown Mortal Orchestra “Can’t Keep Checking My Phone” (Jajaguwar)
Lonelady “Groove It Out” (Warp)
Bicep “Just” (K7)
Swervedriver “Last Rites” (Cobraside)
Spectres “Where Flies Sleep” (Sonic Cathedral)
Beliefs “Tidal Wave” (Hand Drawn Dracula)
Low “What Part of Me” (Sub Pop)
Helen “Motorcycle” (kranky)
Four Tet “Morning Side” (Text)
William Alexander “Strangest Things” (Yellow K)
Open Mike Eagle feat MC Paul Barman & Milo “Trickeration” (Mello Music)
25. Leggy – Nice Try EP [self]
24. Library Voices – Lovish [nevado]
23. Faith No More – Sol Invictus [reclamation]
22. Say Hi – Bleeders Digest [barsuk]
21. Giggly Boys – Bastards of Young [self]
20. The Diamond Center – Crystals of the Brass Empire [funny / not funny]
19. Gun Outfit – Dream All Over [paradise of bachelors]
18. Woolen Men – Temporary Monument [woodsist]
17. Expert Alterations – You Can’t Always Be Liked [kanine]
15. Albino Father – II [self]
14. Mikal Cronin – MCIII [merge]
13. Kurt Vile – b’lieve i’m goin down… [matador]
12. King Gizzard and the Lizzard Wizard – Paper Mâché Dream Balloon [ato]
11. L’Orange & Kool Keith – Time? Astonishing! [mello music]
10. Ultimate Painting – Green Lanes [trouble in mind]
9. Wand – Golem [in the red]
8. Young Guv – Ripe 4 Luv [slumberland]
7. Moon Duo – Shadow of the Sun [sacred bones]
6. Lazy Knuckles – Bucolic [gold robot]
5. Thee Oh Sees – Mutilator Defeted At Last [castle face]
4. Danny James Etc. – Pear [burger]
3. Father John Misty – I Love You, Honeybear [sub pop]
2. Destroyer – Poison Season [merge]
1. The Butterscotch Cathedral – S/T [trouble in mind]
San Francisco’s The Mantles are back with their newest pop masterpiece, All Odds End. Check out the throbbing bass lines and jangling guitars of “Hate To See You Go” (below) it’s a great example of the album’s psych-pop goodness.
All Odds End is out now and available via Slumberland Records. This album belongs in your collection. Enjoy.
The Mantles – Hate To See You Go from All Odds End (2015)
2013 was a great year for music. Below are my top 20 albums of 2013 and mix of my favorite songs from those albums. Happy new year!
20. BOOM! – Get A Grip (Burger)
19. Dim Peaks – Time of Joy (Gold Robot)
18. The Limiñanas – Costa Blanca (Trouble In Mind)
17. Lloyd Cole – Standards (Tapete)
16. Bill Callahan – Dream River (Drag City)
15. RUMTUM – Mystic Wonders (1320)
14. Crocodiles – Crimes of Passion (Frenchkiss)
13. The Go – Fiesta (Burger)
12. Johnny Marr – The Messenger (Sire)
11. Mikal Cronin – MCII (Merge)
10. Gap Dream – Shine Your Light (Burger)
9. Veronica Falls – Waiting For Something To Happen (Slumberland)
8. Eleanor Friedberger – Personal Record (Merge)
7. Jacco Gardner – Cabinet of Curiosities (Trouble In Mind)
6. Kurt Vile – Wakin On A Pretty Daze (Matador)
5. Yo La Tengo – Fade (Matador)
4. Wooden Shjips – Back To Land (Thrill Jockey)
3. Monster Rally – Return To Paradise (Gold Robot)
2. Thee Oh Sees – Floating Coffin (Castle Face)
1. Foxygen – We Are the 21st Century Ambassadors of Peace & Magic (Jagjaguwar)
It’s embarrassing to tell you how much I love this band. It’s embarrassing to admit that I listen to this band over and over and over and over again. I admit that I completely give up my critical faculties when I listen to Veronica Falls. Pure bliss! The melodies! The harmonies! The boy/girl vocals! My son, who just got his driver license and with whom I now share a car, had to eject their album out of my CD player’s cold…dead…slot. Speaking of death and coldness, this band has a reputation for being into death and dark and cold, but au contraire! All I can do when I listen to Veronica Falls is dance around, strum my air guitar, and sing my lungs out. Sure, the opening track to their first album is called “Found Love in a Graveyard” and the follow-up track’s refrain is “Take your hands off me,” but graveyards can be cheery places if you’re dancing on someone’s grave to the right soundtrack and you can always ask your dance partner to remove their mitts politely, respectively.
And besides, on their new album they ditched the dour song titles and replaced them with names like “Shooting Star” and “My Heart Beats” so you can tell your parents your new favorite band sings songs about hope and life (just don’t tell them about “Buried Alive”). I love Veronica Falls so much I don’t even miss Velocity Girl and if you know me, that’s saying something. And guess what else? This is the quickest post I’ve ever written because I can’t even think straight when I hear Veronica Falls and this all comes gushing out and I can’t wait for their tour and even though they’re currently in Europe (they’re from the UK) VERONICA FALLS IS COMING!!! [pace Will Farrell as Elf when he hears the news that Santa’s coming to town] and I’m gonna stop typing and go buy my tick—
Veronica Falls – Teenage [MP3 via Boing Boing/Soundcloud]
This track has become a staple on the ol’ show lately, and I was about to mention how well they sound after The Raveonettes. Good thing I did a bit of fact checking, because in fact the only bands that have preceded them are Ratatat, Sonic Youth, and CSS. Being from Sweden, Liechtenstein probably don’t want to be compared to those aforementioned Danes, but I didn’t make that comparison. Liechtenstein play sugar-free, bubblegum bedroom pop: not too sweet, but instantly endearing. No nonsense. No frills. Just charming vocal harmonies and a steady beat, all sounding like it’s coming from the garage of the girl next door.